Your University magazine 2022-23

Page 9

Northern Gritstone: A groundbreaking partnership for three Northern universities


he universities of Sheffield, Leeds and Manchester have partnered up to launch a new investment company called Northern Gritstone to help boost the commercialisation of university spinouts and start-ups in the North of England. The company will fund spinout enterprises from each institution using external capital raised from a range of different investors. These businesses may be newly formed spinouts or ones historically founded by or linked to the universities. The company also aims to play a key role in the government’s ‘Build Back Better’ agenda and ‘Plan for Growth’ in the North, and invest across a range of areas including advanced materials and manufacturing, health and life sciences, artificial intelligence and data sciences. Northern Gritstone will provide significant start-up and follow-on funding to support the intellectual property (IP) developed at Sheffield,

Leeds and Manchester. By raising a planned £500 million, Northern Gritstone will become one of the UK’s largest dedicated investors in the commercialisation of university science and technology-related intellectual property in the UK. Northern Gritstone has appointed Duncan Johnson as Chief Executive Officer and Lord Jim O’Neill, a Sheffield alumnus, as Non-Executive Chairman. Lord O’Neill said of the launch, “From the Industrial Revolution through to the early Digital Revolution, the North has helped to power our nation’s history. Gritstone’s mission is to take this one step further and unlock the huge commercial opportunity of our science and technology capabilities.”

Go ahead for green hydrogen Gigafactory

Hydrogen Research Innovation and Skills centre will also be funded, facilitating research into the safe and efficient manufacture of hydrogen using low or zero-carbon sources of energy. The company’s second UK factory has already

Energy storage and clean fuel company ITM Power is joining the University of Sheffield for a pioneering collaboration that includes an agreement for a new ITM Gigafactory. The Gigafactory, to be built at the University of Sheffield Innovation District, will manufacture electrolysers that split water into molecules of hydrogen and oxygen using renewable power. This zero-carbon green hydrogen can then be used in industrial processes, transport and heating, helping to push our society towards net-zero carbon. Dr Graham Cooley, CEO of ITM Power, said, “I am delighted to be working more closely with the University of Sheffield and that our second UK factory site is in Sheffield. Both initiatives will support the local economy through job creation and supply chain support.” The Gigafactory is expected to be fully operational by the end of 2023. A National

From the Industrial Revolution through to the early Digital Revolution, the North has helped to power our nation’s history.” Lord O’Neill

been discussed and is to be located at Tinsley, Sheffield. The development of this centre will lead to the creation of new jobs at all levels of the hydrogen sector, as well as opportunities for training and career development.

ITM Power’s second UK factory will be located at the University’s Innovation District in Tinsley. 2022/2023 | YOUR UNIVERSITY